- Education and Science»
- Art History
Treasures That Were Never Found
Discovering Pirate Treasure
In my vast search for a "good pirate", I also learned about the many treasures they acquired and buried--- some of which were never discovered. Even today, with our innovative technology and advanced equipment, many of these treasure troves remain untouched and unclaimed. I have only covered a few of these treasure spots, for I''m sure there are many, many more yet to be discovered.
The often neglected pirate, "Billy Bowlegs", was part Creek Indian and a one-time crew member of the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. He died without disclosing the whereabouts of his treasure; and he promised the world that they would never find all of his treasure. Many years later, treasure hunters dug up his grave and the trees near-by. They did find some silver in the trees, but most of his treasure was never found---just as he predicted.
In about 1553, twenty Spanish galleons with millions of dollars in precious jewels and metals were caught in a great hurricane. Only one of those ships returned to Spain. Spanish crews were able to rescue most of the cargo, but one of the ships was never found and is still hidden near the shore with buried treasure. Another wreck, the "Santa Rosa", was carrying the ransom money to Cortez from the Aztecs to free their chief, Montezuma. It sank in 1520, just south of Key West, with over 30,000,000 in gold and precious gems---(worth far more today!). Many such shipwrecks have left buried treasure in coves and inlets waiting to be discovered. I illustrated these coves in a art rendering called "Mermaid Cove".
Blackbeard's Cursed Treasure
The bible talks about treasure that was cursed because of the wickedness of men. One such treasure, that was claimed to be cursed, was that of the infamous pirate Edward Teach--alias Blackbeard.
In 1795, three teenagers were beached on Oak Island, an Island beyond Nova Scotia. The story is told that they discovered a giant oak tree with a sawed off limb coming out from the tree. The limb had grooves carved in it--that looked like a rope hung there. They felt that perhaps they would find buried treasure nearby. When they dug around the tree they found a wooden platform, but no treasure. Years later, one of the boys came back and uncovered a huge flat stone. There were strange words, like hieroglyphics, written on it. Over one hundred years later, the words were translated and they said: "Beneath this stone two million pounds are buried." Many have tried to find the treasure there--- thousands of dollars were spent, lives were lost, and even with modern equipment they could not uncover the lost treasure. The treasure is still believed to be buried there. Some believe that it is part of Blackbeard's hoard that was cursed.
The Treasure of Madagascar
The great pirate Abraham Samuels, from Jamaica, became the "Pirate King of Madagascar". He and his newly acquired tribe from Madagascar were able to lure many a ship onto the rocky coasts there and then steal their cargo. No one knows his final fate, but the great amounts of treasure and stolen loot is still believed to be hidden somewhere on the Island of Madagascar. In my research on Madagascar, I also came across the interesting story of "The Roc", a giant bird that lived there long ago. The famous Venetian, Marco Polo, in his travel records wrote about this giant bird that he saw there while visiting Madagascar. Later it was also written about in the "Arabian Tales", and the fictional stories of Sinbad the sailor; however, they added the bird's ability to fly to their stories, which was not really the case. This bird actually lived in Madagascar many years ago and it was really named the "Elephant Bird", for its huge size--it was the largest bird that ever lived. I named the third treasure area--"Roc Peak" after the giant bird that lived there.
Two Great Cave Treasures
A famous refuge for pirates and other outlaws, was an Island off the North Devon coast called Lundy Island. It was named after the Puffins and Auks that once lived there. The dangerous west coast of the Island had a cave---so the story goes--that held the treasure of the terrible pirate, Captain Nutt. In 1864, two Islanders reportedly went inside the cave and never returned--they say killed by falling rock. The cave is said to be cursed and also haunted and the treasure was never found.
There are also stories of the great treasure stolen by pirates such as Captain Morgan and Blackbeard and buried on Cocos Island. In the 1960's four French students went to the Island of Cocos searching for the treasure there. In a cave on the Island, they found two human skeletons and a great deal of Spanish gold. But, only a small part of the treasure that is buried there has been found.
Making A Game Of It
Although, it is true that I never was able to find that "good pirate" for my son. I did, in the end and with all my research, create a fun game for him to play together with our family. I took all the pirates that I learned about and turned them into cards. I also make up a treasure map with many of the actual treasures I learned about and added the creatures that existed long ago, like the "Roc", to the map. We all were able to re-live a bit of history as we played the game--and although there was a lot of competition in trying to be the one to find the treasures first, it made my long quest worthwhile after all.